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Hi folks

I am a first time HV owner, have been for an entire seven days. I have a beautiful girl of nine weeks of age.

She is an ardent gravel chewer. I took her to the vet last evening for the first checkup/vacc and was told in no uncertain terms that I must discourage her from this habit, as it can lead to major problems if left unchecked.

Between the house and the decking, there is a small gravel-filled channel and I have pretty much taught her, in just a week, not to forage for gravel there. The flower bed at the back of the yard is a different matter though. Only very stern discipline (lead, lots of "no" etc) will deter her from charging into it and coming away with a gravel prize.

Any advice is welcome. I don't want her to come to harm through ingestion, but I am very mindful that they need gentle correction, not constant yelling or lead pulling.
 

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Well, the only advice I can think of would be to get rid of the gravel. We all make some sacrifices and compromises for the safety of our dogs. ;D One example I can offer is that, although I used to be an avid gardener, I now grow most of my flowers in large pots. I do this so that I don't have to be concerned about my dog trampling on the flowers. Also, before I plant anything in Willie's yard, I check to make sure it isn't poisonous to dogs!

Wonder why your pup eats gravel?! Are you sure she is getting enough food to eat? She's a growing girl... Yes, the gravel-eating could cause big problems. She still has her baby teeth, but it does seem like a habit that could ruin teeth in short order. It could also damage her entire digestive system. Well, I vote for losing the gravel.

p.s. You are right... Gentle correction is really the best way to go with a Vizsla. If you want to train her out of it, you have to be out there with her every single minute. Constant supervision... no exceptions. Her life really could depend on it.
 

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I once saw a short documentary. The dog looked like a lab was picking up large rocks and held them in the mouth for hours at time.
It turned out the owner gave the dog a little less attention as a result of running a small business and the dog was holding the bolder sized rocks in the mouth as a form of getting attention.

The solution was to not give any attention to the dog when it held a rock in the mouth, and praise like mad when it dropped the rock.

Dog's enamel is thinner than human enamel and once worn teeth will be sensitive and may lead to tooth loss as well.
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to cover the back flower bed with a thick layer of bark chippings today (was planning to do this for weed-control purposes as well). I will also closely supervise Sabine when she's in the yard as well as in the house, no more gravel for her. Guess this will mean she will have to be on a training lead for a while when outside, until the habit has been broken.
 

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I have the same problem with our 13 wk Cooper, I never leave him alone in the garden and am constantly removing gravel from his mouth. Sometime he is good and will come to me and the next he makes a game of it !! I usually walk about the garden saying "come" and he will drop the stone on his way to me.

I also have started taking his nyla bone outside and give that to him to chew instead.

I bought one after reading many posts about them and would recommend you get one too for Sabine. It has saved my furniture too.
 

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If chips are referred to as mulch in America/Canada, our likes to chew on mulch. Also a bad habit.
Here, mulch is treated with chemicals and coloring, bad combination. I read that coco mulch may prove fatal to dogs.
 

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Jasper likes to chew on the untreated wood chips in parks and gardens (he'd probably like the treated ones too, but I don't let him near those). I don't think it's bad for their teeth the way gravel is, but do still keep an eye on Sabine around them so that she doesn't ingest a bunch or something.
 

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Avery was a gravel/stone chewer as a pup. It led to an abdominal obstruction at 3 months of age that required a [very successful] surgical intervention. It's a dangerous habit.

In our case we couldn't limit access to rocks because our property is very, very rocky -- the plaque outside reads 'Rocky Ridge' and it's not kidding. We had to keep her indoors for two miserable months until the habit passed. My vet recommended an iron supplement (BeeFee Tabs) which may or may not have helped. She's still on it, and she's not interesting in rocks, so I'm keeping her on it.

I read that coco mulch may prove fatal to dogs.
Yes! Cocoa Mulch is incredibly dangerous if it contains Theobromine. It's attractive to dogs because it smells like chocolate but it's lethal if ingested.
 

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As a pup Savannah picked up some small gravel after eating one of her stuffed toys. The combination of string and rocks made her sick enough that I took her to the vet. The vet x-rayed to ensure everything kept moving. When it passed, it was one long twine of gravel tied up in cloth. No surgery required (thank goodness), but we had olive oil on standby for a few weeks after that and she was not allowed off-leash for those few weeks. Eventually, she got the message that I wouldn't interrupt her when she ate mud, grass clippings, or sticks.

Ultimately (after she was through with gravel), the rule became she could chew anything in nature, but nothing man-made. If you implement this rule, watch the stick chewing, they can be dangerous if swallowed. However, the stick-chewing dogs I know all chew sticks to pieces, but don't swallow.
 

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My puppy of 18 weeks loves to eat stones and gravel. The first time it came to my attention was when he vomited a large stone and it was a trip down the vets. Stones are now, always coming out the other end or he's throwing them back up. I have tried various things and nothing is working for me, as he's just so quick.
I just hope he grows out of it. My breeder said he also experienced this with his weimaraner pup but thankfully, she grew out of it!

I'm sorry I can't offer any constructive advice but hope it's some consolation that your dog isn't the only one out there with a love of gravel!!
 

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I had this problem as well, rocks were coming out of both ends! I couldn't find any good info on how to stop this behaviour, so I came up with my own method. This is what I did...

First I taught Brooklyn "Leave It" and "Drop It" using clicker training. (I had no idea how to do this so I Googled it :) )
http://www.youtube.com/user/tab289#p/u/28/asVQYYSWPJc

Then I actually used rocks and made a daily game of leave it/drop it. I would toss the rock and tell her to "leave it", if she did she got a click and a treat. She would often pick the the rock up (because I tossed it and it kinda was a game). In this case she got the "drop it" command then a click and a treat when she dropped it. Eventually she started picking them up and then dropping them on her own without me telling her to. After playing this game every day for about a month, if she picks up a rock outside now, she drops it immediately on her own.

I am not a trainer and I'm not sure if this was the best method, but I felt I had to do something before the rocks caused an obstruction.
 
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